You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good
to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
Genesis 50:20 (NIV)
Yesterday we thought about the problem the biblical character Joseph had trying to make sense of his suffering. Undoubtedly he asked questions and likely prayed much for release from his situation.
Those who have been physically abused can see themselves in Joseph’s story. Others who have been slandered unjustly also see themselves in this story. It is one thing to suffer because of our sin and quite another to suffer because of the sins of other people.
Many times I have counselled people who shed tears in my office over tragic circumstances they must endure through the evil committed against them by family members, fellow Christians and so on.
We know that the Lord loves justice and is loving toward His people, so why should His children endure such horrors in this life? If God is sovereign, He can stop the pain and dispense justice—so what is He waiting for?
The darkness that engulfs people in pain is frightening at times and so frustrating to endure. Sometimes we cry out for relief and the burden only seems to become heavier. We wonder when it will all end.
One thought comes to mind in times of suffering, and that is Christians will never receive the justice their sins deserve. Reflecting on our lives, many of us can see how lacking in thanks to God we were for His blessings. Or we gave ourselves credit for our past success in life.
Possibly when the Lord called on us to relieve the suffering of the poor we kept our excess money for ourselves and bought more unnecessary things. Or we had loose tongues and gossiped about another person.
The list is long of ways we might have sinned against the Lord and others. However, when we believed in Jesus, the Lord absolved us of our sins and we were freed from condemnation. So the justice our sins merited from God was taken by our Saviour.
To consider that God has delivered us from eternal condemnation gives weary believers some degree of comfort as the pain continues.
Never feel that your difficulties are a waste. God has respect for those tears you shed. In the Bible King Hezekiah wept over his suffering and prayed to the Lord about his problems. Read what the Lord said to him. 2 Kings 20:5 (NIV) “I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you.”
Your suffering is not wasted. Your prayers are heard by the Lord. He shall empower you to endure. He has arranged a day when He will wipe all tears from your eyes. You shall laugh and sing for joy in His presence. Press on in His strength and in that day you will hear the Lord say to you, “Well done good and faithful servant, enter the joy of your Lord.” (Matthew 25:21)